Richie Benaud (1930-2015)


Riche Benaud died yesterday of skin cancer. His contributions to cricket were immense, starting with his superb leg spin bowling and aggressive lower batting but most importantly as one of the shrewdest captains in the game and the architect of many victories under whose leadership Australia did not lose a test series. Well-deserved tributes to him are pouring in from all over. Daniel Brettig gives us an overview of his life and here is video summary..

After his playing days ended, he enjoyed a long career as a cricket commentator and in this area too he excelled. He had a calm, clipped, clear, distinctive voice that one immediately recognized. He used words sparingly but judiciously to give the listener a great deal of insight into what was happening without overwhelming us with irrelevancies. He was deeply knowledgeable about cricket, impartial, and upheld the spirit of the game. His harsh criticism of the Australian captain for the infamous underarm bowling by Australia in their game against New Zealand was all the more devastating because of the calm way he said it. In the clip below, you can see what the event was about. Benaud’s analysis of the event and his judgment can be heard beginning at the 6:00 minute mark.

If anyone deserved the title of the voice of cricket, it was he.

In listening to the recent World Cup commentary, I frequently found myself irritated at the mindless blathering of the current crop of commentators and wished that Benaud were there instead. Alas, we shall not hear his voice anymore.

Comments

  1. sundoga says

    Benaud had already gone into commentating by the time I became interested in Cricket, and I credit his smooth, clear delivery for a lot of my early enthusiasm for the game. Count me as one who will miss him.

  2. jockmcdock says

    My memories of Richie as a player are vague since I was a young, Scottish immigrant to Australia who had yet to develop a love of cricket. But as a commentator, Richie was unsurpassed.

    What I liked about him was that you couldn’t tell he was an Aussie (OK, apart from the accent). He praised and criticised players on their performance. A great innings by an Indian batsman or a great bowling spell by a West Indian bowler received the same praise as a similar effort by an Aussie. The only other commentator I can think of in this category is (was) Bill McLaren, the Scottish rugby union commentator – you only knew Bill was Scottish by his accent.

    And as many have pointed out, Richie knew that not talking could speak volumes. He knew the value of silence. He also knew the value of understatement. I remember him commenting on a fielder who seemed to be (illegally) working on the seam…his comment “Oh, dear”.

  3. says

    Richie was my introduction to cricket and I missed his commentary when he retired.

    The BBC radio news had a group of ex players and commentators to discuss his legacy on Saturday morning and it was characterized by laughter and affection.

  4. StevoR says

    @2. Pete the Rockstar : “two for two four two”

    Er, I think that’s ‘traditionally’ “two for twenty two”, actually ..

    He was the sound of summer, all my life. Great player, great commentator, great man. Will be greatly missed. Vale Richie Benaud and thankyou.

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